The country house must-have
Half term is upon us and so is the seemingly never-ending rain, bringing along with it mud splattered wellies, sodden dogs and water dripping off wax jackets onto the floor. And let’s not forget the hockey sticks, rugby boots and tennis racquets brought home at the end of every term, not to mention the trainers scattered all over the hallway floor and the all too familiar cry of “Has anyone seen my hat?”
In a world full of hustle and bustle, keeping muddy paws at bay and a semblance of order to the clutter which sometimes seems to grow its own legs is a must, but how can we achieve it?
Our answer is the boot room.
The boot room is one of the top interior design trends in 2024 but country houses are no strangers to this workhorse space which has the important purpose of keeping the outside from entering the rest of the house by cleverly bridging the gap between the exterior and interior.
Sometimes called a mud room, or bootility room for those who want to incorporate an area for laundry, the boot room creates another point of entrance to the home and is most commonly located at the rear of the property, providing a multifunctional place to store dog leads, shoes, coats, boots, cold weather gear, wellies and walking sticks.
But with so many items to find a nook or cranny for, how can you find that all-important blend of stylish storage with functionality? Here are our top tips for the perfect boot room:
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to leave the house but being unable to find your other shoe (last seen in the puppy’s mouth and now probably under a sofa!) or matching gloves, so we love to include a tower of floor to ceiling cubby holes. Not only do these provide ample storage for shoes, boots, scarves and hats but they also make it easy for the children to tidy away their possessions after a day at school.
Items like wellies and sports equipment can be more difficult to store tidily so we like to create seating areas with hinged lids which open up to reveal deep storage boxes. This has the double purpose of providing a place to put on or take off your shoes which is especially useful after a long dog walk.
A run of pegs is essential for hanging coats and jackets so making sure you have plenty but that they are spaced out enough to avoid coats bunching together, is always at the top of our clients’ wish lists. Choose pegs which are strong and sturdy so that you can hang up your heavy winter coats but are also stylish – remember they won’t always be covered with clothing.
In any house there are certain everyday items which are never going look pretty if on display and so you’re likely to want to put them behind closed doors … and that’s exactly why every boot room needs plenty of cupboard space. Pop away the hoover, hang up the dogs’ leads, stash away the umbrellas and conceal the clutter inside hand painted cupboards with plenty of rail space for those extra coats not needed until next season.
Plenty of shelving is always handy in a boot room for items such as dog biscuits and bowls, boot polish and brushes, cleaning products and cloths, as well as vases, picnic blankets and trugs. We like to pay as much attention to the interiors of our cupboards as the externals to ensure they look beautiful inside and out, as well as use high quality oak or maple to ensure Rencraft furniture stands the test of time.
As well as interior shelving, we also like to incorporate open shelving into our designs to allow clients to showcase items such as family heirlooms, sporting trophies and meaningful memorabilia to add a little pop of personality to the room.
As with each and every project, our designers always take the time to listen to our clients and get to know them and the way they want to use the space. One of our favourite examples is this custom storage area which we designed for a gentleman who owns a much-prized collection of beautiful walking sticks which deserve to be kept on show for all to admire, as well as be easily accessible but carefully stored to avoid damage.
If you have a boot room project in mind, then why not come and visit us in our Tunbridge Wells showrooms to see how we have created a beautiful boot room in our basement which flows seamlessly into a country house kitchen display complete with concealed breakfast pantry, Belfast sink and Aga cooker.